Frequently Asked Questions

Do you charge for an initial consultation?

No.  There is no charge for an initial consultation.  Up to an hour is spent on your questions.

I have a criminal charge against me, how much will it cost for you to represent me?

I do not have a set fee for any case.  Each case is individually assessed in terms of difficulty.  When a fee is discussed with a client, the client is always in the position to accept or decline.

How do I pick the right lawyer?

Look at the lawyer’s credentials.  Try to get referrals if possible.  Look at the attorney’s rating on lawyer rating sites such as www.AVVO.com.  Meet the lawyer in person and see if you feel comfortable with the lawyer’s knowledge and level of expertise.  Do not be fooled by fancy plaques or awards in office waiting rooms that can be brought by just about any lawyer who is offered one by a company making money from them.  Do your homework.  Meet the lawyer. Trust your instincts.

Are your fees hourly or on a flat fee basis?

Criminal cases are always charged on a flat fee basis.  Family law matters are charged hourly, with an initial retainer up front, which time is deducted from as the case progresses.

How much will I spend on a case?

The client is always in control of expenses past the initial retainer stage.

How do you defend me in a criminal case?

Depending on the complexity of the case, we may need to use a private investigator to gather witness statements, evidence that supports your defense, or other information that establishes a reasonable doubt in your case. We may also use expert witnesses from time to time to contradict expert witnesses called by the Prosecution or which may be needed by our own team to establish facts that support your defense.  These, along with smart, tactical lawyering, ability to negotiate if necessary, or take a case to trial when necessary are the keys to a good defense.

What is a Collaborative Divorce and how can it help me?

A collaborative divorce is a process of uncoupling two people in a fair, honest and dignified way, without all of the dirt and litigation tactics that often occur in courtroom battles.  In a collaborative divorce setting, the parties agree to keep the case out of court. Each party works with their own specially trained collaborative attorney, who work in conjunction with their client, and the other client and lawyer to form a team to resolve the many financial and family issues in uncoupling families.

Do I need a specially trained collaborative lawyer if I want to go the collaborative divorce route, and how do I get my partner, wife, husband to agree to go collaboratively?

Not every case is a good case for the collaborative model.  The Central Counties Collaborative Law Community (CCCLC) http://centrecollaborativelaw.com has a list of specially trained collaborative lawyers that can handle these cases.  Untrained lawyers in the collaborative discipline are not equipped to handle a collaborative divorce.  The best way to interest your spouse or partner in the collaborative divorce process is to obtain information from a collaborative lawyer and give it to your spouse or partner to study and read over.

Should I plea bargain my criminal case or go to trial?

Very few criminal cases actually make it to the trial stage.  Most end up in some kind of a plea bargain, resolving the case.  An experienced, trained defense lawyer knows what plea bargains have been offered in similar cases, and knows how to argue the mitigating factors of your particular case with your prosecutor. A plea bargain should never be accepted though if you have any doubt about the lawyer’s ability to either effectively bargain for you, or competently take your case to trial. See our discussion also on the ARD Program that follows.

I want to get my criminal record expunged. It keeps on coming up in background checks when I apply for a job. It’s hurting my income potential and ability for me to support my family.

This is a complex subject and involves understanding whether you are eligible for an expungement or whether what you really need is a formal Pardon or Order of Clemency through the Governor of Pennsylvania.  You should consult a lawyer who has experience with both proceedings to know which is the best way to secure your future record and clear it. See our discussion on Expungements and Governor’s Pardon.

The police called me and want me to come in for questioning about something that I know nothing about. What should I do?

Always speak to a lawyer before speaking to the police about anything.  The police are allowed and will use trickery to investigate many other things than what they tell you they are interested in.  If in doubt, always talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

If I am stopped for a DUI, and asked to give a blood sample or submit to a chemical test of my blood, should I consent?

Under PA Law, every driver who has a driver’s license has given the police the right to take a chemical test.  If you don’t you will lose your license for a year on a “refusal” to submit to the test.

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